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CPJ denounces China Internet sentence

(CPJ/IFEX) - CPJ is outraged over the two-year prison sentence given on 20
January 1999 to Lin Hai, a software entrepreneur who was tried in December
1998 in Shanghai on charges of attempting to overthrow the state by
providing e-mail addresses to a dissident on-line Chinese magazine.

**Updates IFEX alert of 9 December 1998**

Lin was accused of "inciting the overthrow of state power" by giving 30,000
e-mail addresses of Chinese residents to VIP Reference, an online magazine
published in the United States that supports democratic reform in China. He
is the first person imprisoned in China on charges of subversion growing out
of Internet use.

Lin's wife, Xu Hong, was in the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate Court for the
sentencing but wasn't allowed to talk to her husband, according to wire
service reports. She has been barred from seeing Lin since his arrest and
detention on 25 March 1998. Likewise, his four-hour trial on 4 December was
closed to the public.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the President:
  • expressing the opinion that the conviction of Lin is chilling in the
  • reminding him that his government has often said that China wishes to
    encourage modernisation and technological development
  • explaining that at the heart of that goal is the free-flow of ideas
    represented by unfettered access to the Internet and other forms of media
  • further explaining that by imprisoning Lin, his regime sends the message
    that China is afraid of information and not strong enough to tolerate
  • denouncing in the strongest possible terms the imprisonment of Lin Hai
  • urging him to intervene on his behalf and to use his influence to
    the dangerous course of action represented by the prosecution of Lin

    Appeals To

    Jiang Zemin
    President, State Council
    Beijing 100032
    People's Republic of China
    Fax: +86 10 6512 5810

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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